Guardian opinion columnist Zoe Williams weighed the merits of allowing children as young as six to vote in elections in an article published Monday.
The article, titled “Allow six-year-olds to vote? No, but it’s not as crazy as it sounds,” argues that one of the potential positives of allowing children to vote is that little children tend to be more “progressive” than their parents and have a more “natural sense of justice.”
According to the author, the rationale for six-year-old voters should be considered by liberals in the U.K. because children would vote with only the future in mind, while adults and the elderly vote only to protect the status quo. Williams says her child believes in free housing and food in the order of “pre-Marx communism”:
Children do tend towards the progressive, having a natural sense of justice (which kicks in at the age of six months, psychologists have shown, by simulating scenes of great unfairness to babies, and making them cry) and an underdeveloped sense of self-interest. My kid, when he was six, made quite a trenchant case against private property, on the basis that, since everybody needed a house, they shouldn’t cost money, because nobody would want anyone else not to have one. Also, food should be free. It was a kind of pre-Marx communism, where you limit the coverage of the market to only those things that you wouldn’t mind someone else not having.
Williams went on to say that her son’s way of thinking “would have been quite useful” in a recent U.K. election.
But, according to Williams, the rationale should be considered, but not ultimately implemented.
“In short: no, six-year-olds should not get the vote,” the author argues, with a caveat that 16-year-olds should be allowed to vote. (RELATED: First Lady Makes A Little Girl’s Christmas Dream Come True)
The current voting age in the U.K. is set at 18. In Scotland, 16- and17-year-olds have been given the right to vote locally. Eighteen is the voting age in the United States. There is a similar movement in the U.S. to lower the voting age to 16 called “Vote16USA.”
The voting age in America was lowered from 21 to 18 in 1971.